Cineplex Entertainment is looking beyond Hollywood with a new concept that combines arcade games and live performances.The country’s biggest movie theatre chain said Monday it plans to launch The Rec Room later this year in Edmonton as part of a pilot project that will ramp up to a bigger expansion.Each location will have space for a restaurant and bar, as well as an array of entertainment options, like an arcade and an auditorium for live music and comedians.The company is also considering other games like bowling, billiards and ping pong.The idea is in the vein of restaurant and arcade chains in the United States like Latitude 360 and Dave and Buster’s.“When you look at Canada we really don’t have a location-based social environment where people can game, have a meal, watch [sports], all of those kinds of things that create a destination,” chief executive Ellis Jacob said in an interview.“It allows us to capitalize on our strength, from our infrastructure to the assets we’ve built up.”Box office flops like Sex Tape and Blended cut into Cineplex’s bottom lineCineplex looks to diversify business as fourth-quarter profit falls 38%The first Rec Room will open late this year adjacent to an existing Cineplex theatre at the South Edmonton Common shopping centre.Another 10 to 15 locations will follow in major cities across the country over the next several years, though they won’t necessarily be next to a movie theatre, Jacob said.Cineplex already operates 18 Xscape Entertainment Centres with popular arcade games and billiards. Some of the locations also have lounges with liquor licences.What makes The Rec Room different is the broader game and food selection, and the large digital screens, Mr. Jacob said.He hopes Cineplex can tap into the rising popularity of video game tournaments on the big screen, where audiences gather to battle each other playing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 games.Cineplex also owns an advertising business and premium-priced movie theatres. The company has been focused on diversifying its business to lessen the impact of the volatile movie industry, which thrives on blockbuster hits but falters when a big movie tanks.Last month, Cineplex backed out of screening the controversial Seth Rogen movie The Interview when hackers threatened terrorist attacks at theatres showing the comedy.While Cineplex said it only planned to postpone screenings, the company decided against showing it at all when Sony Pictures made The Interview available to rent and buy online.The Canadian Press
Meanwhile the army rejected allegations that troops in Jaffna may have carried out the attack. “The setting fire to Uthayan newspaper printing office has been an inside job to tarnish the government’s image,” he said. He said that according to preliminary investigations carried out by the authorities the damage caused by the latest attack is not excessive.“Only three paper rolls are partially burnt along with few papers, no damage to any printing machines, and power supply has been interrupted due to heat. When power is restored the paper can resume its operations, perhaps today itself,” he said.“As things appear, it is obvious that the publicity gained by the paper through this alleged attack on its printing press is enormous. The local as well as international political mileage that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), as well as other international pro LTTE organizations propagating the ideology of establishing a separate state in Sri Lanka, gain by way of discrediting the Government and Military is much greater than the physical damage. This publicity will surely be used by them to support their widespread claims that international interference is essential for local reconciliation,” the army spokesman added. (Colombo Gazette) The Ministry of Defence (MOD) claims the attack on the Uthayan office in Jaffna early this morning was an inside job.Director General of the Media Center for National Security Lakshman Hulugalla was quoted on the MOD website as saying that the attack was carried out in an attempt to tarnish the image of the government. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said the military is duty bound to protect the constitutional rights and freedom of expression is one of the guaranteed rights.“The Military has no requirement to engage in acts against freedom of expression. There are a large number of different media institutions in Sri Lanka and anyone following what is published/broadcasted/telecasted would know that criticism on Government as well as Military are very common,” he said.